I think this is the question people really want to ask me when they ask “How’s the market.” What they are thinking, as they ask that nicer question is, “why in the world is she selling real estate in this crazy, down-hill market.” Good question. And one that I too ask myself on some long, dark days of real estate . . . but my answer is a reminder and the reason I keep going and doing what I’m doing. So, the long-winded version of the answer goes something like this:
If you’ve read my blog, you might know that I used to be a classroom teacher. I got my teaching credential, then my MA in Education, became department chair, a mentor teacher, yearbook advisor, newspaper advisor . . . you get the idea – then in the span of three years had two kids. A year later in the summer of 2004 I was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer. After kid number one, teaching, the way I liked to do it, had already become a challenge, a strain, not fun anymore, but I was muddling through it. However, when you have a doctor outlining treatment options for your cancer, one positive side affect is an amazing amount of clarity.
So, one day not long after I had gone through surgery and tests and treatments and found out I actually was going to live to see another year of teaching, my husband asked me what it was I really wanted to do – and I love that he said to put money aside, because that was my big hang-up about quitting teaching, my salaried position. My salary was not making us rich, but it was a predicatble, monthly salary – so, with money aside, without hesitation, I said real estate. Since I so clearly now knew that life could indeed be short and my heart was no longer into teaching, I decided to risk the unpredictability of being paid on commission and within a few weeks I was studying for my real estate test and became a licensed agent in 2005.
I became an agent in CA as the pin was piercing the real estate bubble. Even in the decline, I found fast success as a listing agent, primarily a re-listing agent. Being the second agent, I brought new energy, aggressive marketing, and a compelling price, which got the houses sold. Since the bubble burst was such a fun run, I moved up to the Seattle market in 2007, just as their bubble was bursting, for yet another round (I hope you are getting my sarcasm). And now, in 2010, I am still riding the blast of that bubble. No, for me and real estate the affair has not been about money (my goal has always been to make my old teaching salary) the affair has always been about the customer service aspect of helping my clients get where they need to be. But, I’ve done well in both departments, and I attribute that to the simple fact that I am doing something I love.
Moving to Bainbridge, and becoming a newbie agent in this insular market, was not easy, to say the very least. But I feel very fortunate that I was able to find my new place and define myself primarily as a techy relocation agent. Moving north was not super easy for me on levels beyond my career. My roots in California ran deep after being a California girl for 35 years. But, I recognize that others are going through the same physical and emotional struggles I did – moving your life is not easy. So, I feel very privileged when clients ask me to assist them during this major life change.
When I (as an agent at the time in CA, mind you) was looking for an agent on Bainbridge Island to help us with our move I knew what I was looking for. I wanted someone who had time for us. I did not want a super busy agent with assistants and twenty two listings (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But, being in the biz, I knew they would not have the time for all of my stressed out calls and queries for help about where to take my bored children to find other bored children. I found a good agent, who helped us buy our house. She was there for us and helped us negotiate a good price for our house. But, our moving experience helped me realize that people relocating also need help with the emotional move, the transition, the changes, not just the purchase of the house. Each day I am striving to be the great agent I was looking for to help us buy a home and to help us with our move.
I love what I do and I hope through my life experiences and my love for real estate I can help others make their move and find their place on Bainbridge Island.